My routing to Vienna left me with a lengthy layover in Zürich, about 4 hours 45 minutes. To pass the time, I ended up spending most of that layover in the SWISS Business Lounge Zurich A Gates. This lounge features a simple and elegant design, and I found it quite nice overall. It does get packed during peak periods, however.
Note: this post is part of my trip report series covering my visit to Austria in May, 2022. Click here for the trip report index and introductory post.
SWISS Business Lounge Zurich A Gates
Located in the plaza between the A and B/D gates. The same entrance services both the Business and Senator lounges. Follow the signs to the A gates, and you can’t miss the lounge entrance to the right, after security.
The following customers may access SWISS Business Lounges:
- Business Class passengers on SWISS or other Star Alliance carriers
- Star Alliance Gold members plus one guest (though you also receive access to the Senator Lounge)
- Lufthansa Group Economy Class passengers may purchase an access voucher; current price is CHF 49
Hours of operation are 5:30 am to 10:00 pm daily. Note that while generally meant for Schengen passengers, passengers on non-Schengen flights can use this lounge. However, this requires clearing passport control before heading to the gate, so allow sufficient time if visiting this lounge. (I found the E Gates lounge nicer anyway if you’re on a non-Schengen flight.)
Date of visit: May 6, 2022
SWISS Business Lounge Zurich A Gates Review
The A Gates Business Lounge features a somewhat unique tri-level design. The first floor houses the entrance and reception desk. Simply scan your boarding pass for access, though there is an attendant if you encounter any issues. There is a small overflow seating area on the ground floor. While largely empty when I arrived around 9 am, it was pretty packed by the time I left around 11:45.
The ground floor also gives you a pretty good idea of the lounge’s design, which I generally liked. The modern Swiss design is practical and elegant, without being ostentatious and also avoiding today’s garish urban minimalism.
Anyway, head upstairs to the main level, featuring the dining and main seating areas. The dining area becomes the focal point of the second floor. There’s some high-top seating against the wall, with a small dining room in the center. Meanwhile, the buffet area and open-air kitchen are to the right. At breakfast, some free seats remained, especially in the bar seating area near the wall. However, by lunch, it literally became standing room only.
The food and drink selection in the lounge is pretty good. There’s a large selection of self-service beverages, including juices, bottled beer smoothies, sodas, and mid-range liquors. I also found the wine selection pretty robust for a Business Class lounge, with several reds and whites available.
In addition, there is a soda/juice/water fountain with a few options, along with a beer tap with a couple of local brews.
There’s also a decent coffee machine to make your own cup of coffee.
For lunch, the live cooking station offered carrot ginger soup, gnocchi with meatballs, pasta with cheese sauce, and assorted desserts.
I decided to try the pasta, along with a highly delicious pretzel roll. The penne was pretty good. While I enjoyed the pasta itself, I found the diced chorizo too salty. Additionally, despite the crazy crowds that rolled in by then, the setup remained remarkably efficient. Lines moved quickly, and I received my order within a couple of minutes.
Meanwhile, the main seating area is in the back of the lounge, past the dining area and kitchen. It’s basically a big rectangle with different seating options – traditional lounge chairs to the left, a circular sofa in the center, and a TV room in the back. The TV room was too crowded to get usable photos, so I only have a distant view of that from the sofa (the room with the photo of the Alps in the fake window).
I ended up grabbing a seat on the couch; it’s a comfy place to sit, but the tiny tables make it a bit awkward to keep food. A very helpful feature throughout the lounge are power strips with both European and American plugs. I realized then that I left my adapter at home, but this let me delay trying to find an adapter until I reached Vienna.
The lounge has a fully separated smoker’s terrace, with the door near the staircase. I originally thought it was outdoors, but it is in fact fully covered.
Also next to the door to the smoker’s terrace is the machine to obtain a WiFi code. To access WiFi in the SWISS lounge, you need to scan your boarding pass here to obtain an access code. Alternatively, you can connect to the regular Zurich Airport WiFi from the lounge. Both offered satisfactory speeds and stability for normal use.
My main complaint with the main lounge is the lack of natural light. Aside from the smoker’s terrace, there just isn’t any. That made the lounge feel rather dark and dungeon-like, especially in the back.
On the third floor, meanwhile, is the designated quiet area. At one time, this floor contained the “world’s longest serviced bar”. Today, one side features large sofas for relaxing with views of the ramp. The other has lounge chairs with views of the concourse. I decided to head up this way after it got too loud downstairs, but by then, the rain started up again, leaving not much of a view out the windows.
(For the record, that is NOT me with the feet on the sofa…)
There is also a flight board so you can track when it’s time to head to the gate.
One thing to note is that food is NOT allowed upstairs. Something I didn’t realize until after I vacated my seat downstairs and moved up here. Unfortunately, when I headed back down for lunch, all empty seats were long gone. It was standing room only while eating my pasta, until a seat finally opened at the high-top tables.
SWISS does a nice job with its Business Lounges in Zurich. The design is nice, and the food and drink selection is pretty solid. Just keep in mind, the lounge at the A Gates gets jam packed around at peak times, including around midday.